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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  December 30, 2011 10:00pm-11:00pm PST

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> another poll in iowa shows mitt romney and ron paul leading the republican field. good evening. i'm jim lehrer. >> and i'm jeffrey brown. on the newshour tonight, from des moines, judy woodruff has the latest on the g.o.p. race. >> with just three days left until the presidential caucuses, more than a third of iowa republicans say they still don't know who they'll vote for, so candidates and their organizations are working overtime to get their supporters out. >> judy talked with five of
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those undecided iowans about what will determine their choices on tuesday night. >> plus mark shields here and david brooks in iowa, analyze the week's news. >> then elizabeth brackett of wtkw, chicago, reports on the surprising rise of poverty in the suburban neighborhoods of one of the nation's wealthiest counties. >> it's exploded. it has gone from something that was rarely encountered in this community to an issue that we encounter every day. >> and ray suarez looks at marriage trends in america as fewer couples tie the knot, and those who do are older than ever. >> that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> intelligent computing technology is making its way into everything from cars to retail signs to hospitals, creating new enriching experiences. through intel's philosophy of investing for the future, we're helping to bring these new capabilities to market.
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we're investing billions of dollars in r&d around the globe to help create the technologies that we hope will be the heart of tomorrow's innovations. i believe that by investing today in technological advances here at intel, we can make a better tomorrow. >> and by bnsf railway. >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brown: republican presidential candidates spent another long day hunting for votes in iowa.
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they were heading into the final weekend before the presidential election season officially opens with tuesday night's caucuses. the weather turned colder and windy, but mitt romney warmed to his audience as another new poll, this one from nbc marist, showed him pacing the field. >> if you can get out here in this cold and this wind and a little bit of rain coming down, then you can sure get out on tuesday night, and you can sure find a few people to bring with you. >> brown: one key supporter showed up today, new jersey governor chris christie, campaigning with romney in west des moines. >> it really energizes me, the young people. >> brown: texas congressman ron paul was either tied for first or a close second. 41% in the nbc poll said his libertarian leaning makes him unacceptable. newt gingrich had been the iowa front-runner just a few weeks back but has fallen far behind. in des moines today, remembering his late mother's mental health problemes, he grew emotional. >> and my whole emphasis on
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brain science comes in directly from dealing with, uh-- of dealing with, you know, the real problems of real people in my family. and so it's not a theory. it's in fact, you know, my mother. >> this is very personal for me. it's not just political. it's not just public. >> brown: moment recalled hillary clinton's emotional moment just before the 2008 democratic primary in new hampshire. she went on to win there. back in iowa, former pennsylvania senator rick santorum continued pressing to add to his late surge. he's not running third. another former front-runner, texas governor rick perry, was running fourth or fifth, depending on the poll. >> the day that president obama came into office. >> reporter: and minnesota congresswoman michele bachmann, who lost two top staffers this week, was trailing the field. she discounted the low turnout at a meet-and-greet event in
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early iowa this afternoon. >> i guess our effort wasn't to bring crowds out. we were just dropping in. >> brown: as the weekend arrived, the race in iowa remained fluid. many likely caucus-goers said they were still deciding on which candidate to support come tuesday. wood wood is in iowa reporting for us through the voting next tuesday night. i spoke with her a short time ago in des moines. so, judy, for a long time it seemed mitt romney wasn't going to fight that hard in iowa, but no more, right? >> woodruff: well, that's right, jeff. it looks that way. the first thing we need to say is what a large number of undecided voters there are in iowa and you'll hear a little more about that in a minute when you see the interview i did with voters last night. having said that, you where are right, mitt romney on top in two of the most recent polls, right at around 25%. that seems to be so far a ceiling for him. that's the same percentage of the vote mitt romney had four years ago when he lost because at that point, the conservative
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vote in iowa was coalescing around one candidate, mike huckabee. this time, the conservative vote is looking around, spread among four or five different candidates. that's working to mitt romney's advantage. and, jeff, i should say, right hot on his heels are ron paul, the libertarian, attracting a lot of younger voters, and as you also mentioned, rick santorum, stressing his christian conservative views, and maybe all that work that rick santorum has put into iowa may be paying off. >> brown: tell me about ron paul-- speak of ron paul. you were at an event of his last night. now, what did you see in where is the support coming from? >> woodruff: it is coming from the-- it's traditional that a chunk of iowa, the iowa republican vote tends to be libertarian, and of course that is ron paul's philosophy. so that it's-- a lot of it is young people, college students. you go to a college campus, you talk to many of them, they're very excited about ron paul. his vote is very enthusiastic.
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it's loyal. they are going to turn out. the question is how large are they because there's a-- there's a sizable percentage of iowa republicans who say they could never vote for ron paul because they don't like his foreign policy. but he is going to get a significant turnout. he's got students in this state who have come in from other parts of the country who are working for him. even though, i should say, jeff, ron paul himself is going home to texas for the weekend to celebrate new year's eve with his family. >> brown: now, beyond it getting cold, what about atmospherics, if i can use that word? what's your sense there of how worked up people are, what are the campaigns going through, as they go into the real crunch time? >> woodruff: well, they're all gearing up. we ran in-- this morning at a hotel we ran into george arball,
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george w. bush's manager of fema. he's working for rick perry, organizing the state. and the way he put it today, he said, "at this stage of the game, you've identified your supporters. it's all mechanics. it's getting those people out, the people who liked you from the beginning, the people who are still undecided. the romney campaign work the state very hard, they said you've only seen about 10% of what we're doing, 90% of it has been underground. we're getting people out. you ask about enthusiasm. everywhere you go, even democrats will tell you they're excited to see iowa getting attention. they're excited to see the press here, even if they don't like any of these candidates and they don't plan to vote for them in november. these caucuses are still a big deal. so we expect a lot of attention on tuesday night. >> brown: all right, judy woodruff is in des moines and we'll be there through tuesday night. thanks a lot, judy. >> woodruff: thank you. >> lehrer: still to come on the newshour tonight, iowa voters still making up their minds. shields and brooks.
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poverty in the suburbs. and the decline in americans marrying. but first the other news of this day. here is hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: an outpouring of antigovernment protesters filled cities across syria today. it marked a new challenge to president bashar al-assad. the opposition reported as many as 250,000 people turned out in iblid and hama, and there were many thousands more in homes, douma, and daraa. troops gunned down at least 22 people. we have a report narrated by andy davies of independent television news. >> reporter: homs, in the northwest syria this morning, some are now calling this the martyr city, given the numbers killed here in recent months. in front of the camera reads the message, "this is the friday for marching towards the squares of freedom." and so they did, gathering in their thousands in the city's main square, significantly, for the first time in months.
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across syria, the opposition movement rallied its support base following friday prayers. hundreds of thousands reportedly took to the streets. emboldened, perhaps, by the recent arrival of arab league monitors in the country. it's intended as a statement to those observers, raging violence will not quell this uprising. this footage was apparently recorded today in douma. it's just six miles from the center of the capital damascus. it's not clear what caused this particular explosion, but opposition activists alleged syrian security forces had thrown nail bombs into the crowd. there was violence docume
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also in the city a fortnight ago, the united nations estimated more than 5,000 had been killed by syrian security forces since the uprising began. one influential campaign group says it is now more than 6,000. it's a figure disputed by the government, and again today by its media. this reporter claims he's tracked down a number of people who were supposedly killed by security forces. state-run tv was broadcasting today live from the center of damascus and other cities. they were showing rallies in support of al-assad's regime. >> sreenivasan: in pakistan, at least nine people were killed when a car bomb exploded outside the home of a local politicians. more than 20 people were wounded there. spain has imposed new austerity measures, including a temporary tax hike to raise almost $8 billion. the two-year increase would affect the wealthy, the newly
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elected center-right government also announcing more than $11 billion in spending cuts today. these are all part of efforts to reign in the country's growing debt. wall street stumbled on the last trading day of the year with nothing to give the market much of a boost. the dow jones industrial average lost 69 points, the nasdaq fell eight points for the year, the dow gained 5%, 5.5% and the nasdaq fell nearly 2%. the standard & poors 500 finished the year down less than a tenth of a point. two nasa satellites are set to start orbiting the moon over the weekend. the sat lie is about the size of a washing machine. they're to fly in tandem to map the moon's gravitational field. that data could reveal the moon's interior and how it formed. those are some of the day's major stories. now back to jim. >> lehrer: and we return to
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iowa. last evening, judy woodruff spoke with five still-undecided voters. all are registered republicans. they were selected with the help of civic and educational organizations in iowa. >> woodruff: thank you all for joining us. and to jim carly for hosting us in your home. >> you're welcome. >> woodruff: as you look at the country, how do you think things are going, overall? >> i think we're going in the wrong direction. i think that there needs to be a 360 turnaround to where we're going now with the economy and i think, also, our world standing has declined. >> woodruff: we read that the iowa economy is doing pretty well, jim. your unemployment rate, overall, is pretty good. but you still have a pretty negative view about the economy. is that right? >> my wife and i were both retired. we have our pensions but we also have investments which took a pretty big hit. and this-- the uncertainty of what's going to happen. we're doing fine now, but when it's not doing anything to get
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better and congress can't agree on what day of the week it is, how are we ever going to get anything solved? so we are quite concerned about the future and what's going to happen there. >> woodruff: b.j. what, about for you? personally, how do you think things are going for you and your family? >> right now things are a little bit better but we've had some tough times. when i say that, i've never clipped a coupon in my life, and now i take the sunday paper not to read the news but to go through the coupons and see what's in there. and i may only save $5 but i'm so excited about that $5. >> woodruff: dave, what about you? >> i'm personally, being self-employed in the car business, i have been pretty affected by it, and i think a lot of the small dealers have been hurt. the crisis with the no lending and people are unsure of how to spend their money or when to spend their money or if they should spend their money. i think that's put a hurt on everybody. people just don't have the money to spend right now, and if we can get the economy going it
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will heel all the social problems. we just need to get the economy going right now. >> woodruff: sam, do you see the importance of this election and how closely have you been following it? >> i've been following it very closely. i've been lucky enough to shake the hand of every presidential candidate and look them in the eye, which i think says a lot about being in iowa and you can also learn a lot from that exchange. i think this election is really going to be a referendum on some really important issues to this country, i think. spending, how to balance the budget, the national debt. all those issues are really going to be decided by the selection, and the american people are going to have to decide what solutions we want to go about to solve those problems. >> woodruff: b.j., what do you, right now? i mean, where are you leaning? the caucuses are just a few daysa way. >> i'm leaning towards newt gingrich. i've been leaning that way for a while because i think he's authentic.
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he has success working with the opposite party. and he seems to have a vision for the future. >> woodruff: is there anybody else you could-- you're thinking about, other than gingrich at this point? >> i really like michele bachmann. because if you want to know the truth, i'd like to see any man-- and i suppose this is a feminist perspective-- i'd like to see any man start a business, go to school, raise five children, and have 23 foster children. i don't think a man could do that. so, i think she runs circles around them. and i like what she stands for. so she's a good multitasker. >> woodruff: sam what, about you? >> yeah, it seems to me with a lot of these candidacy i'm leaning away. so i think two candidates that i'm leaning towards would be mitt romney and ron paul. i think looking at their records, mitt romney has been a turnaround artist his entire
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career, and i think that he could do a really great job turning around the economy. and ron paul really speaks to me as a young person. he's got a great youth following, and i really like a lot of his libertarian stances. >> woodruff: what about you, jim? where are you leaning right now? >> well, if i vote principles, which i'm leaning at just recently here, things have happened and i'm standing for that would put me in rick santorum's camp. i like the principles that he has. i think that's where a lot of our problem is. we don't have virtuous and moral leaders. >> woodruff: viktoria, what about you? where is your head or your heart or both right now? >> it rail is a struggle. i'm just being honest. i don't know. i don't have that-- it was so funny, because for huckabee i was like, "yes, this is my guy. i want him. i'm going to go out--" it was freezing, it was snow and ice, horrible last time. i don't feel that for any candidate right now and that scares me so that's why, you
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know, i'm just not loyal to any one person at this point. >> woodruff: dave, what about you? how are you leaning right now? >> we have a couple of candidates i think should have came to iowa, should have campaigned here. i think mr. huntsman is one of them. he should have thrown his hat in the ring. he says a lot of good things, but whichever candidate is selected, we need to get behind the candidate and beat obama in 2012. >> woodruff: what about that? it sounds like you're saying something a little bit different from what dave is saying. >> i don't think we need to go into the polls with the only thing on our mind is who can beat him. there's still 10 months to go before the election, and one of those down the bottom may be the rising star in actuality, once they get out into the rest of the nation. so i think we need to pick a good candidate. i favor one that has good principles that i can trust. >> woodruff: santorum. >> santorum, right. but i think part of the problem we have in this, i've never seen this many people so undecided
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this late in the game and i think a lot of that has to do with the massive number of debates that we've had and the forum that the debates have had to where people are attacking each other-- i mean, we're attacking our own. >> woodruff: anybody else on why it's so hard to make a decision this time? i mean, you've touched on the fact that it is hard but any thoughts about why? b.j.? >> mitt romney cannot get past a certain level, and he couldn't-- he couldn't go up against huckabee last time, although he spent gobs and gobs and gobs of money. to me, mitt romney is the status quo in the republican party, and i think a lot of us-- i don't know how many of us are tea partiers or libertarians-- we're dissatisfied with the status quo of the republican party and that's what mitt romney represents. i think that's why there are the fights-- not the infighting but the turmoil in our party. >> woodruff: sam, what do you say to that? you said romney was somebody you could support. in fact, you mentioned him first. >> yeah, i think that mitt romney really brings a lot to
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the table, and if you look at him against newt gingrich-- i don't mean to get candidate versus sunday here-- but newt gingrich has really been the textbook washington insider for the last 40 years. and so i don't know if i'm comfortable having that background in the white house. >> mitt romney is not a true conservative. and we talk about being enthusiastic. conservatives cannot get enthusiasm about him. and that's i didn't think that there's that vacuum. >> woodruff: what about that, jim? because i think you're the one who said a few minutes ago we need somebody who is going to stick-- stick with their principles. >> that's right. and my fear with romney and why i don't like him is i believe government should be small. smaller government, less cost, people are responsible and they take care of themselves. my filing is anybody that wants to institute health care-- and i know they have the state constitution that says they can-- but that's somebody that wants big government. >> romney, i mean, he's a nice guy. he's polished.
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he's back for a second time around, you know, but he's just not-- he's just not the person who i would get up in a snowstorm to vote for. >> woodruff: some of you mentioned santorum. let me ask you, sam, why didn't you bring up santorum? >> i think my problem with rick santorum, as well as some of the other maybe more socially conservative candidates is i think they dwell too much on social issues. and while they might pass the credential check as far as their economic policies go, i just don't think they're people. i, they alienate moderate voters and independents. and while they might excite the base, i just don't see them doing well at all in a general election. >> woodruff: when do you think you're going to make up your mind? >> probably tuesday. >> i'll have it done by sunday. and then i'll think about it. >> woodruff: we appreciate all of you talking with us about these caucuses. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> you're very welcome. thanks for having us. >> lehrer: for the record,
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texas governor rick perry's name did not come up in judy's discussion. >> brown: as we heard in judy's conversation, four years ago it was arkansas governor mike huckabee who beat mitt romney and all others to win the iowa republican caucus. his success came with the strong support of conservative evangelical christians. tonight's edition of "need to know" explores the power of the religious right in iowa. this excerpt looks at the influence of one man in particular. the correspondent is rick karr. >> reporter: bob vander plaats was chairman of mike huckabee's campaign in '08. he led a campaign against three state supreme court justices who ruled in favor of gay marriage and ended up driving them out of office. now he runs an advocacy group for social conservatives called the family leader, and fox news calls him a king maker in iowa. >> the "los angeles times" wrote, "meeting with you is a prerequisite for any candidate who wants to compete in iowa." is that true? >> i don't know if it's a
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prerequisite to meet with me, but i believe it's the issues that our organization represents, and our supporters are very, very sincere about these issues. they're very interested in who is going to champion these issues. our supporters are going to show up on caucus night. >> reporter: in november, the family leader hosted a forum for knop hopefuls. >> we don't need you to be republican or democrat but we need you to be biblical. >> reporter: and the candidates lined up to tout their socially conservative positions. >> the left is prepared to impose intolerance and to drive out of existence traditional religion. >> they slammed abortion rights. >> i have supported the amendment that defines life at conception. >> as long as abortion is lega legal-- at least according to the supreme court-- legal in this country, we will never have rest. >> reporter: gay marriage. >> the family is defined as one
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man, one woman, no other definition will do. >> reporter: and what they call obama care. >> obama care has to go because he's been trying to tell us how to deliver health care in our states. >> reporter: the candidates came because conservative evangelical voters are organized and motivated. they turn up on caucus night. and endorsements from socially conservative groups like the family leader could turn one of them into the mike huckabee of the current campaign. but vander plaats says none of them ended up stealing the hearts of iowa's conservative evangelicals. >> we had six candidates at our thanksgiving candidate forum and i think it was my wife afterwards who said, "you know, bob, if we could take those six and put them in the blender and have one candidate." and i said, "darling, you're getting awfully close to cloning." we would have a perfect candidat and i think what we're realizing today, there is no perfect candidate. >> brown: a postscript. bob vander plaats ended up
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entorsing rick santorum. there were published report he saut up to $1 million for his endorsement, allegations he vigorously denied. "need to know" airs on most pbs stations tonight. >> lehrer: and to the analysis of shields and brookes, syndicated columnist, mark shields, "new york times" columnist, david brooks. david, from iowa, do you have a big-picture portrait of the setting, the scene there tonight? >> well, there are some human interest stories. i got to see newt gingrich cry today, something i had never seen before. he was asked some very personal questions about his life and he talked about how he is sadder and slower than he used to be and then he was asked about his mom and his face just dissolved in doors. you know, the candidates are very tired. gingrich's numbers are falling, they're under a lot of pressure, so you got to see that human element. the big thing that comes fr all the different campaigns is a sense of looking backward.
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there's a theme in almost every single race which is america has lost something that it once had, so we have to look backward. it's about restoration, restoring old values. we've strayed. and this is a theme which is sort of a negative and pessimistic theme, an almost appocolyptic scene that one finds in rom, rick santorum, ron paul, it's all about we had this magic and we lost it. >> lehrer: how do you see the big picture, mark? >> i think the point david made is one worth repeating. that i american campaigns are about the future, and this campaign has really been an awful lot about the past, and it's kind of fascinating to see, like, rick santorum, evolve from nowhere after campaigning 99 counties doing the classic meeting voters and so forth. but absent from his message that i get is any upbeat. i mean it's sort of a gloom and doom to it. but i think, jim, this has been a remarkable race. at separate times during this
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year, six different candidates have led in the polls in iowa. so, you know, it's up for grabs. and it's very much-- tuesday will determine who goes forward. i mean, some candidacies will end just outside of the des moines airport on wednesday morning. >> lehrer: all right, let's talk about romney for a moment, beginning with you, david. how do you read the situation on romney right now, where he stands and what his prospects are in iowa? >> he's exuding confidence. i think his people are exuding confidence. i went to a rally this morning in the rain, and he was-- he was with governor chris christie of new jersey. and it was just a smooth, effective, not too long but sort of a corporate race. it was like george bush in the year 2000. what's interesting is the tactic it's taking. it's very short on policy. it's very long on patriotism. he talks about driving across the country looking at the national parks. he talks-- he sings, or at least recites some verses from the "star spangled banner."
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it's as if he's running to be tom sawyer, and i think it's a way to establish a connection with voteres, even despite questions they may have about mormonism or anything else. i think it's a way to distinguish, in his eyes, between him and barack obama. he's more maintreme. and then, again, this theme of returning, as posing as tom sawyer, he's returning to some earlier values. and, you know, that may play this year. mark is absolutely right. the rick santorum and a lot of the candidates are very negative. the guy who won it four years ago, mike huckabee, very positive. but the mood here has darkened aappreciatably, and maybe they're in tune with the voters are hearing right now. >> lehrer: mark, you heard what judy said, that her feeling was that the polls show that there's a cap. that cap is still there for romney. it's working to his advantage in iowa because everybody else is so split up, right? >> that's right, jim. nobody has been able to consolidate, for example, the religious conservative vote-- although, it seems that rick
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santorum has meade great inroads there. no, there seems to be a sealing on mitt romney. it was kind of fascinating. at the beginning of the month of december, in the gallup poll, he trade newt gingrich 37 to 23. you know, 14-point deficit. now ads newt gingrich 27 to 22. all right, now, it means gingrich has plummeted and all the rest of it. romney has just moved up. he broke the 25-point barrier. i think mitt romney's campaign has been about not so great expectations. they've tried to lower the expectations in iowa all year. david's right-- i think there's a sense now that they could win in iowa. and-- or even if ron paul wins, that's not the worst thing in the world to them. they feel in the long run. but if-- the knockout punch in both iowa and new hampshire would do for him, the romney people feel what, it did for george w. bush in 2000, when he sewed up the republican
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nomination, essentially, in-- in-- i'm sorry, in 2004, when john kerry won both iowa and new hampshire. of course in 2000, he lost to john mccain in new hampshire. the one-two punch is really formidable. >> lehrer: about ron paul, david, as mark just said, ron paul is up there. and what-- what is that going to mine? if he wins that's one thing but if he comes in a close second, what is it going to mean for the race generally for ron paul to do that well in iowa? >> the thing the romney people like is their two main rifles right now are rick santorum and ron paul. i think they're too border santorum and paul having legs. having rivals like that is good for the romney camp. the paul people are young. they're organized. they're very diverse. there are some veterans, some older people, a lot of students,
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a lot of gold bugs. some people who want drug legalization. it's about as diverse a group of people as you can possibly imagine. and there's a supposition that paul, like santorum, probably is under-polling, that there are more people and more mobilized, both in the libertarian camp and the social conservative camp. historically, people in those camps have done a little better thanlet final polls. so there's upside for him. and he-- it's funny, the way he campaigns. he campaigns like the audience isn't there. he gives his talks, whether they're applauding, not, listening, not. he's going to tell you what he thinks. there's no real superstar. there's no stump superstar who really can galvanize a crowd among this group the way huckabee did, the way john edwards did, the way barack obama did. as a series of stump performer i would say it's a below-average year and paul doing well is not raising that average. >> lehrer: how do you account for santorum's rise?
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>> the word in 2008 is authenticity. ron paul exudes authenticity. he says the same thing wherever he goes. others pander, play to the crowd-- what do you want to hear? ron paul is just the opposite, and he has-- he has, unlike santorum and even gingrich at this point, he has money and the ability to raise money in small contributions from a lot of different people. >> lehrer: santorum has been saying the same thing, too. >> santorum has been-- >> lehrer: in his own way, i mean. >> that's right. he has sounded the themes that have been the credo of modern conservatism-- strong, muscular foreign policy. social religious conservatives, and economic fiscal conservatism. and i think that is-- there's a sense in iowa that he's worked for it. he's visited the 99 counties. he's done it the retail way. he's listened to the hairdressers and the auto
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mechanics and i think that there is a connection point, and especially now with the religious and social conservatives. i think he's caught on. >> lehrer: and the others have fallen by the wayside, so, hey, here's santorum. >> he never had the moment in the sun. the others were all icarus, they got close to the sun and then boom. >> lehrer: how do you read santorum, david? >> to me this is less about the candidates and their personalities and more about raw demographics and philosophy. year after year, there are a lot of social conservatives in this state, and this goes back to the time-- many elections ago when pat robertson did well, let alone mike huckabee. social conservatives will always be here, and they'll vote for a conservative candidate, and santorum home schools his kids, he's generally of the community, even though he is catholic. they're going to go for that guy. there are generally a lot of libertarians among the voters here and they're going to go for ron paul. and whether they perform well or not it's almost beside the point at this point.
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those people are going to express their point of view. so there are just a lot of those voters in the state. >> lehrer: let's go back to gingrich for a moment. david, you said you saw him cry today. his polls show he has really dropped. why? and does he have a chance of coming out of iowa in any way that could give him legs. you say there's a possibility of legs for gingrich. why? i asked you three questions at once. sorry about that. >> well, he's a candidate who has a long reputation. and he's pretty good. i saw him today on the dump, and he gives good answers that get applause going. he's just a polished, political performer. the reason he's falling primarily is there are a lot of ads on tv these days in iowa, and 47% of them are being run against newt gingrich. there are just a ton of negative ads, and he's got a lot that he freely admits he's vulnerable for. people are learning about the divorces. they're learning about the freddie mac lobbying.
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i happened to run into him in a hotel lobby last night and he was uballient, and very self-aware air, little more mature than i've seen him, aware of his problems and today the emotional moment. i wouldn't bet on him rebounding, but he is someone who still can debate extremely well, and that argument that he uses time and time again, "who do you want to see debating barack obama?" that is one that resonates. so i wouldn't totally want to count him out but i wouldn't bet money on it. >> lehrer: you wouldn't either, would you you, mark? >> i think i'm probably less bullish on newt gingrich's ability to bounce back than david. in 1996, after he lost, bob dole said, "i was told that people did not like negative ads. i didn't run any. i lost." and i think we're seeing that with newt gingrich. i mean, david mentioned, 45%, 47%, of all the ads bought in iowa in 2011 have been against newt gingrich. i mean, that leaves 55% for
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anybody else positive. perhaps the most effective was ron paul's, which was the serial hypocrisy ad. i think it's tough. there's an awful lot that has got back to him. probably the freddie mac has really hurt him with conservatives in general. and the historian explanation. secondly was his appearing with nancy pelosi in the public service announcement. >> lehrer: he was never able to put that behind him. >> he really hasn't. >> lehrer: on iowa generally, beginning with you, david, should iowa matter as much as it appears to at this point? we're talking about it. the whole world is talking about it right now. should they be? is this the way to choose candidates for president of the united states by starting with iowa? >> i still think so. this is still my favorite place to cover a political race. it's not the way it used to be. it's not just george h.w. bush driving around in a station
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wagon with one aide and maybe a press person. now there are clumps of people, there are big buses. but it's still-- it's more retail. the people are really run through their paces. rick perry tried, couldn't make it here. michele bachmann, we saw what happened to her among voters here. it is-- i think it's still a good testing ground. is it the most representative state in the country? maybe not. but i still think it's a practiced, knowledgeable electorate, who are very good at putting candidates through the ordeal of running, and i do think it's a legitimate way to screen out candidates and give a couple a chance to move on. >> lehrer: you agree with that, don't you, mark? >> i do, jim. iowa isn't representative. it has the fourth highest literacy rate of the 50 state. it has the third lowest divorce rate. it has the sixth highest graduation rate higher than the coastal smug states, connecticut, virginia, maryland, massachusetts, oregon, washington. and the people take it quite seriously. and i always feel better after
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i've been in iowa, and i will feel better after tuesday night again. >> lehrer: okay, mark, david, thank you both very much. >> brown: now two stories about the changing portrait of america. first, a different kind of life in the suburbs. between 2000 and 2010, the number of people living below the poverty line in u.s. suburbs increased by more than 50%, a trend that accelerated during the recession. it's happening in places that have long been middle class, as well as in richer neighborhoods. elizabeth brackett of wttw chicago has our story. >> reporter: dupage county, illinois is one of the wealthiest counties in the country. comfortable homes sit on tree-lined streets. in the suburb of wheaton eight miles west of chicago. upscale restaurants and shops line the historic downtown. but there is another side to
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dupage county, illinois, one that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. it includes packed food pantries, and crowds at the county welfare office. candace king coordinates human services in dupage county, and she has watched poverty grow. >> it's exploded. in the 15 years that i've been in my job, it has gone from something that was rarely encountered this this community, and certainly no one thought it was here, to an issue that we encounter every day. >> reporter: over the last 20 years, poverty in depage county has grown by 185%. nearly 60,000 people here live in poverty. defined by the federal government as earning $22,350 a year for a family of four. and now a brookings institute analysis of census data finds that for the first time in the chicago area, there are more people in poverty in the suburbs
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than in the city. in this wheaton housing complex, 11 of the town homes are in foreclosure. after almost two years of trying, 43-year-old catherine aravosis was finally able to renegotiate her mortgage and save her home. but she and her two children live far below the poverty line. aravosis had a milt-class upbringing. her farther was a college professor, and in 2008 she got her second master's degree, this one in elementary education. but because of cuts in state education funding, she hasn't been able to find a full-time teaching job. last year, she made $11,000. asa a substitute teacher, far less than what she needs to support her two children. >> it has been hard for me because i want to provide for them in a way my parents
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provided for me. i never knew what my parents made. i never had to worry about a thing. we just lived a really stable, typical middle-class existence. and for my children, they don't have that sense of security that i had. they know when i'm stressed, and that hurts. >> one item out of the bucket behind him. >> reporter: aravosis is part of the newly poor demographics that account for much of the rise in poverty in the suburbs. 10 years another she and her husband, an architect, were earning a six-figure income and living in a five-bedroom home in wheaton. they divorced in 2004. her former husband's architectural commissions dried up in 2008, and me has had trouble making child support payments. aravosis tried to get medicaid for her children. but the state threatened to take
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her former husband's architect license because of lack of child support, and she backed off. >> it's those days when you get up and you really don't know what you're going to give your kids for dinner. and it can be a full-time job finding out how am i going to get glasses? the prescription say year old. and where am i going to-- you know, how do i go and get her the shots she needs? she's going into sixth grade. not having the health insurance, not having the basic things that people take for granted, being able to get their kid to the doctor. you know, when they come home and say, "we need $5 for school," there's always something. and sometimes you have to say, "i don't have it." "i just don't have it. i'm sorry." >> reporter: today, dinner comes from the local food pantry. she cooks in her crock pot or microwave since she can't afford to repair her broken stove.
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like many of the suburban poor, aravosis never thought she would need help buying food. >> i didn't expect to be using the food pantry, especially not on a regular basis but, you know, i'm working and i'm not making enough money to make ends meet. so it's very humbling, but i swallowed my pride and i went to the people's resource center and asked for help. >> reporter: aravosis can fill up a shopping cart once a week at the people's resource center. the number of people using this food pantry in wheaton has gone up by 200% in the last five years. there was a 30% jump in 2008 alone. >> make sure all the cart handles are clean. >> reporter: the resource sister's program director, melissa travis, says many of their clients are new to poverty. >> oftentimes, the first time they come, they break into tears because they can't imagine that they would ever need help in a
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way like this. they have been people that have paid taxes. they have been people that have on volunteered and helped in places like this in the past and suddenly they have to go and seek out that assistance so we give a lot of hugs. >> reporter: mary kay hopf could have used a hug the day she came to the food pantry. a registered nurse, hopf has been out of work for several years. she grew up in wheaton and enjoyed a far different lifestyle. >> my dad had a good job. we had the big house and the cars and all those other things, new wardrobe for school when that time of the year came around. i think that i'm one of the people who different have to go without much. and, yeah, it's a whole flip side of that. >> reporter: three months of unemployment brought mariano menendez and his family to the food pantry for the first time. did you think you'd ever wind up coming to a food pantry? >> no, no, of course not, never, never. i've had good jobs. i've-- i've made good income.
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i've-- i've never in my wildest dreams. so, yeah, i'm definitely very grateful for is this. it's amazing, amazing service they offer here. >> reporter: the dramatic increase in poverty in dupage county mirrors the increase in poverty in areas around the country, leaving human service agencies struggling to meet the needs in their communities. yet federal, state, and local funding still goes disproportionately to urban areas. that lack of federal and state resources to fight suburban poverty leaves existing agencies overwhelmed. >> all of the growth in poverty in the state of illinois has been in the suburban area. my organization did an analysis of federal funding and some state funding and private philanthropic funding and found that the city of chicago is getting up to four and five
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times more per poor person than dupage county is. >> reporter: that is not news to melissa travis at the people's resource center. >> we are stretched about six weeks ago, the food pantry was as empty as i've ever seen it in six and a half years. we were trying to get through to our next delivery and just hoping that we had enough food to give everybody what they needed. it's been a devastating year in that regard. >> reporter: unlike many of the newly poor who have a hard time finding the resources that are available, catherine aravosis has taken advantage of all the programs that at the people's resource center. she has gotten clothes for herself and her kids and used the job counselors in her effort to find a full-time teaching job. but having to accept help has changed the way she thinks of herself. >> i always thought of myself as middle class. i had a middle-class upbringing. i had middle-class expectations. but the reality is that i'm not living a middle-class lifestyle
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any more. so, no, i don't think so. i think i've fallen out of the middle class. >> reporter: like many in her situation, she doesn't see much hope of things improving. and while she wants to stay in wheaton, life in suburbia is far different than she ever imagined it would be. >> brown: final plea tonight, our second story on the shifting trends in american life. this one is about the changing demographics of marriage. ray suarez has our conversation. >> suarez: for decades, the fact that a sizable majority of americans were married shaped our politics, where we lived, where we worked, and what we thought when we heard the word "family." recently, the pew research center took a look at all of us over 18 and found just 51% are married, down from more than 70% in 1960.
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stephanie kuntz has been chronicling the changes in marshal for a long time. and is director of research on the county of families. we moved in 50 years from almost three-quarters of married adults to barely half. what happened? what's pushing those numbers? >> well, one of the things that you have to bear in mind is that 1960 was probably the most atypical year in 150 years. the age of marriage was at an all-time low. half of all women were married before they got out of their teens and the rate of marriage was an an all-time high. so what's happened since then, primarily what's driving this is the rise in the age of marriage. it's now up to 26 for women and 28 for men. and that's actually a good thing because the longer a woman delays marriage, right up into his early 30s, the lower her chances of divorce. but it does totally change the
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social weight of married households in our economy, our society, or politics. >> suarez: but not only has the age at first marriage risen-- which, of course, that's just math. it makes a smaller number of adults married-- but the number of people who have ever been married has also declined. has marriage moved from being sort of culturally mandatory to more optional? >> well, it's definitely moved to being more optional. that does not mean, though, that it's not just as valued, in fact, even more valued than it used to be, and it doesn't mean that the majority of americans will not marry. i think-- getting into a situation where a slightly larger number of people will never marry than in the past, maybe 15%, as opposed to 10% norm and 5% in the atypical nine 1950s. and of course we also have some people who will live alone after divorcing. but, on the other hand, people are marrying for the first time in their 40s, 50s, and 60s at older ages than ever before.
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so for me, the main thing that i think we're facing here is that you can no longer assume that married couple households are going to be the main places where people make the major life decisions, whether that's becoming sexually active, buying a house, entering long-term obligations, living with somebody that is a romantic partner, even having say child out of marriage. so we can no longer assume that married couple households are the only place where people incur obligations, make commitments, and need help in meeting their obligations. >> suarez: you've talked about these big-life moments, but have they responded to the fact that marriage has changein this way over the last 50 years? our tax laws, the way we build houses, the way we award property in courts, all kinds of things are still built around marriage. >> absolutely, absolutely. just look at work family policies that just assume that it's only married couples who are going to have children or
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just ignore the fact that signals also have responsibilities for aging parents. there are so many ways in which we are still acting as though american family were like 1950s sitcoms instead of the tremendous diversity. most people will marry in america but most people will spend substantial portions of their adult life outside marriage. it's a more fluid situation than it used to be. they'll move through. they may cohabit for a while. they may get married. they may get divorced. so these are the sorts of things that our social policy and even our emotional expectations of family life have to catch up with these change realities. >> announcer: there are short-term trends, too. the number of newlyweds is way down. is that going to push that 50% threshold down so married people are a minority of american adults? >> it may. it may. it depends how long this recession and the aftermath of the recession lasts. this is a long-term trend.
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the decline in the proportion of married couples in the population, but it's been definitely, i think, exacerbated by the recession. but on the other hand, we may see some bounce-back after that as we hadv in previous recessions and depressions when the marriage rate fell. >> suarez: how is who gets married shaped by income, education, factors like that? >> well, one of the things we're seeing is a tremendous class divide in the access to stable, satisfying relationships, whether married or cohabiting. and its marriages of college-educated couples have been getting more and more stable. the divorce rates have been falling. but that's not so for high school dropouts and even increasingly for high school educated couples. it seems that one of the issues going on here is that we expect more of marriage than ever before, both as an economic partnership and as an emotional partnership. and as it becomes possible-- or
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less possible-- to count on a man having a steady job, the real wages of high school graduates today are $4 an hour lower in constant dollars than they were back in 1970. they're much more likely to experience job insecurity, much less likely to have pensions. so a woman-- low-income women making a decision about marrying such a man has to figure out, well, what are the benefits of this as compared to the possibility that we might divorce in the future or as compared to what would happen if i invested in my own education and earnings power. so i do think we're seeing a class divide that's quite troublesome. i think that it partly reflects growing economic inequality in our society but of course it exacerbates it as well. >> suarez: stephanie kuntz, thanks for joining us. >> my, mr., ray, thank you. >> lehrer: and again, the major developments of the day,
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republican presidential candidates spent another long day hunting for votes going into the final weekend before the iowa caucuses. another poll showed mitt romney and ron paul atop the field. and an outpouring of protesters filled cities across syria and government troops opened fire again. the opposition said at least 22 people were killed. and to hari sreenivasan for what's on the newshour online. >> sreenivasan: there's mump moreots coming iowa caucuses, good gwen aisle's take on why they matter. and patchwork nation's look at some g.o.p. hopefuls betting big on sparsely populated counties in iowa. plus on the rundown, view a slideshow of some of the biggest news stories of 2011 in the u.s. and around the world. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. >> brown: that's the newshour for tonight. in monday we'll look at the fallout in egypt after th. >> lehrer: i'm jim lehrer.
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"washington week" can be seen later this evening on most pbs stations. we'll see you again online and on monday evening. have a nice new year's holiday weekend. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> intel. sponsors of tomorrow. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy productive life.
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